Memorizing the Bible: The How

Fasten your seatbelts, y’all. It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Last week we covered the why of memorizing the Bible. Today we’ll cover the how.

Time:

One thing you might be thinking is that you just don’t have time to memorize and review the Bible. If that’s the case, I would encourage you to pick a day in the near future and track your time that entire day. There are many apps that can help you do this (StackTheTime is just one of many out there) or you could just jot it things down on a note on your phone or on a piece of paper.

Be as aggressive as you can possibly be- track how much time you spend sprawled out in bed snoozing your alarm, how much time you spend getting ready, how you use your lunch break, and even (perhaps especially!) how much time you spend scrolling around on your phone during those times.

See where you have a few spare minutes to devote to memory and review as well as what daily tasks would lend themselves well to multitasking (i.e. emptying the dishwasher, waiting in a carpool line or standstill traffic, folding laundry, etc.) Over the course of today I reviewed John 11, Revelation 12, Job 38-42, and Psalm 103 while driving to the library and whilst doing various household tasks. The kids (and Drew 🙂 ) are used to it by now and interrupt somewhat, but much less than they used to because it’s become familiar for them.

Time tracking may also be revelatory in regards to how you do spend your free time- perhaps it’s time to cut down on a particular podcast, TV show, or video game. In any case, hopefully this can help you find time within your day to devote to learning and meditating on the Word of God.

Methods & Tools

After discovering what time(s) you can set aside for this purpose, evaluate what methods best help you learn and experiment with available tools. I start by copying the chapter into my phone’s note app and breaking it into sections that make sense for me. Here are two example notes from 2 Timothy 4 and Nehemiah 7:

Then I would record a short section on the Memorize Anything app and listen to it while I cleaned up, etc. (I don’t use that app anymore, but it was very helpful initially). These days I repeat it out loud over and over, checking the note when I need to until I don’t need to look anymore. The following day I review from the previous day and add another section, repeating it as many times as necessary to get it down pat. It isn’t always just a once a day thing, either. Some days I review chapters multiple times out of desperate need for the Word. Extra review is needed for passages that are more difficult than others to retain (For me that’s John 13-17! I had to review it tons initially and that whole section still requires extra efforts on my part). I’ve certainly learned that the memorizing process is mega important, but that it’s just the beginning. It’s not rocket surgery: review, review, review!

An important aside: getting what you’re memorizing word perfect is a good aim. After all, this is the inspired Word of God. But I’m gonna be honest: I frequently miss words and even lose whole sections from the books and passages that I have memorized. That’s why I still have to check against the notes on my phone to ensure it’s right. I truly believe that the point of this discipline is to internalize the truth of the text in order to love God more and pursue obedience to Him. So do take it seriously, but don’t panic about getting words wrong or forgetting parts. He loves you so much and gives much grace to the humble.

It’ll also be helpful to identify your learning style. Does listening to something on repeat cement it into your mind? Try recording a short passage on a recording app (such as the aforementioned Memorize Anything app) or listening to it on the YouVersion Bible app. Maybe for you writing it down multiple times will be the best method – either on a device or in a notebook- according to science, paper and pen will likely serve you best 🙂 If you have other ideas or things you’ve tried, please share them with me!

Accountability:

Find a person or a few people you can ask to hold you accountable as well as incentives that will keep you going. Since I started memorizing I’ve written out the day’s passage from memory and texted it in a group message to my sister Caroline and my Mom. I’ve also done this over shorter periods of time with several other friends and family members when we memorized passages together. When I finish a chapter, I say it aloud to my husband Drew and we talk about it. This practice not only keeps me accountable, but it also knits me together with other believers in a really special way. I love learning from other’s insights on what I just texted or recited!

Rewards & Celebrations:

Finally, consider setting up rewards to incentivize you to meet your goal. As a small daily example, I wait to listen to podcasts until I’ve done my review and memorization. It also helps me to record chapters on Adobe Spark Video and share them with others on social media. I’m also grateful that those recordings are stored on the cloud to leave with my kids (and hopefully grandkids).

And, of course, good food motivates me! After I finished Revelation we went out to the Cheesecake Factory for a steak. When the kids finished memorizing Hebrews 1 I took them to Chik-Fil-A to celebrate! (I’ll be sharing a post on memorizing with kids in the near future).

In summary:

  • Figure out where you have time in your schedule to memorize and review Scripture. Protect & prioritize that time!
  • Discover your learning style and the tools that are best for you- this will likely require trial and error. You got this!
  • Find an accountability partner. I’m always available!
  • Utilize incentives & celebrate victories!

I hope this has been helpful for y’all. Feel free to send questions and/or comments! Be blessed,

Emma

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